Most Common Mistakes Made By Life Science Students In A Competitive Exam
--Sharing is Caring--

Common Mistakes In Competitive Exams

No doubt, many of the students spend countless days and nights in revising the topics, working out test series, attending mock tests, etc. and fortunately, many of them come up with flying colors, but that’s not always the case with everyone. Every individual will go through a period of stress and anxiety during that particular time, and they are always ready to take advice from anyone they come across. They make sure not to make any mistakes even though one has revised his/her maximum, but still, due to some exam pressure, fear, and stress, people inevitably make mistakes.

So here are a few Common Mistakes In Competitive Exams that every aspirant commits!  Also, we have enlisted specific tips to tackle mistakes to make you exam ready!

  1. Not Reading The Question Properly

One of the common mistakes that most of them have done is not reading the questions correctly, especially in CSIR exams, people always miss to read “INCORRECT” and “NOT” in the question provided. Human brains are habituated in such a way that we always see what we want to see, and this is especially true inside an examination hall. Instead of reading thoroughly, we are actually guessing the question from the question paper and answering it wrongly.

The first and foremost thing one must do is be calm and relaxed and then read the question thoroughly and understand what they are actually expecting by it in order to avoid any kind of silly mistakes. Better underline the words like  “INCORRECT” and “NOT” while attending, with a pencil, which can be erased later. This is one of the most Common Mistakes by aspirants In Competitive Exams.

  1. Improper Time Management

The duration of most of the competitive exams is either 2 or 3 hours. And honestly speaking, time seems to be scarce, especially when we are in the examination hall. So divide the marks and time in a logical way. It’s seen that most of them spend too much time answering initial questions, and gradually, the time consumption will be maximum, and in the end, they will struggle to finish their answers within a limited period of time in that hurry burry. It is advisable to practice a number of test series before appearing for the final exam; this will help you in guiding for proper utilization of time. In case you stuck at a question, just leave it, and you can get back to it at the end if you have any spare time left. Since now you have practiced many times,  so one must also have an idea about the total number of questions to expect from each section.

  1. Scary Nature

Common Mistake In Competitive Exams

Another common mistake that most of them do is getting afraid of or getting panicked. Usually, this terrifying nature arises due to exam pressure, stress, anxiety, and all sorts of negative energies, which must be avoided during exams. Because ultimately, this will make you forget what you actually studied and will create a lot of confusion, making you prone to giving wrong answers.

  1. Overthinking In the Examination Hall 

Some people have a habit of thinking, rethinking, and ultimately leading to overthinking. Specific questions are actually easily answerable, but due to our overthinking, it creates doubts and confusion. So, in that case, even if we are going to attempt the right answers, it will still show a dilemma within us and ultimately ending up with the wrong answers. My only suggestion is just to avoid overthinking during exams. It’s good to analyze the questions but not to overthink. In case a person has a tendency to overthink, then better he/she should go for first instinct attending the questions in order to avoid wasting time and mental peace.

  5. Incorrect Marking Of The OMR Sheet

Sometimes we actually know the correct answer, but in a hurry burry and sometimes due to overconfidence, we pick the right answer, but while darkening the OMR shade the letter next to the correct answer, which is actually not matching the expected correct answer. This is a very minute, silly yet one of the blunders done by students appearing in any kind of competitive exams. In such cases, one needs to be more attentive and careful while attempting it. Once the error is committed it cannot be rectified. Therefore it features in Common Mistake In Competitive Exams

  1. Targeting The Cut-Off

Some people’s only intention is just to cross the border. Please don’t do that. Nowadays competition is so high and severe as well and everyone is on the ride to be on the top thus in that case just clearing the exam will not give you much benefit. It’s better to follow and be in that competitive ride to be on top. Stopover expecting with your performance.

  1. Ignoring Exam Guidelines

Even though exam guidelines not change frequently but still what’s wrong in spending the initial 5-6 minutes for it. Since it will guide you to attend a number of questions that are needed to clear your exam and so also mark distribution and who knows, sometimes they may provide minor changes in the pattern. So be attentive and never miss to read the exam guidelines.

  1. Using Guesswork In Exam

Now a day, every competitive exam has negative marking. Guessing the answer, especially during the competitive exams, will be a tricky one. If you are lucky enough, you will click it correctly, and if not, you need to face negative marking. So, in that case, if you had not attempted, you won’t lose anything, but if you are attempting out of your guesswork and it turned out to be wrong, you need to face the consequences. So better avoid guessing, especially during such exams.

  1. Insufficient Sleep Before The Exam

Some of them make a mistake of studying all night before the exam as well. This must be avoided because a one-night study is not going to save you since you are not here to appear any kind of board exams. Instead, you are here to write an exam that will decide your future and shape your career. And one must realize that our brain also needs some kind of rest before it begins to work for the next crucial day. Scientifically it is proven that adequate sleep is necessary for our brain to function correctly and to upgrade the memory level.

  1. Improper Utilization Of The Initial 15 Minutes Of The Exam

The initial few minutes are allotted to go through the question paper and make a strategy to work out. Do not waste this time looking at others and starting to attempt the questions. Decide which are the requisite number of questions which you can perform. Mark those separately with a pencil, later try attempting only those first. If you become sure of other questions, later on, you can work on those as well.

  1. It’s Not Necessary, To Begin With, The First Question

Most of the competitive exams don’t demand to answer serially. e.g., In CSIR Exam, it is not mandatory to attend the questions serially. You can start attending from anywhere from any section. Sometimes it happens that we face very tough questions initially, but that does not mean that you won’t get any easy one. So just proceed confidently. But it’s always advisable when it comes to CSIR, start answering Part-C first. As this part is analytical and time-consuming so these kinds of sections in any competitive exams must be attended first, followed by other sections. Next, you can jump to memory-based Part-B, which will help you score maximum based on whatever you remember. Lastly, Part-A can be attempted, as only a few questions are expected. Those two, you need to solve based on your general knowledge, reasoning, basic mathematics knowledge, and understanding of the questions. Believe me, even after all this, you will have plenty of time (almost 1 hour) to check the answers marked.

  1. Never Skip Graphical, Pictorial & Lengthy Questions

Most of them quit those questions, which are graphical and lengthy. But the real fact is that it’s not that much tough. When it comes to a graph, mostly, these are direct only, and usually, the pictorial representation will have many pieces of information in the question itself. The same is the case for lengthy questions because such questions are actually well explained and you don’t have to overthink, all you need to do is just put the things together you will find your answer. In fact, lengthy questions are sometimes directly pasted as a part of one experiment that you have already studied! Conversely, small questions sometimes are time taking because you need to think a lot before attempting it.

  1. DON’T  QUIT!

Common Mistake In Competitive Exams

Yes, please don’t quit. At times when we are unable to answer initially, we will simply give up saying we are not going to pass this time, which saves in our mind, in that case, whichever questions we are actually aware of also either quit or not attempted. And believe me, this thinking is actually nothing less than a curse, and this curse will have a terrible effect compared to anyone else. Like in the CSIR exam, as already stated, one must always begin the exam with PART-C. Even though you are unable to attend the first 15-16 questions, also no problem because you still have more than 50 questions left. So can you go for a minimum of 20 questions from it???  It is possible, right? In such cases, one must have patience and decision making skills. Also, in the last 1 hr, when you are cross-checking, you can opt to answer those questions as you will find time to read one question several times and understand.

  1. Eliminating Options Will Help & Save Time

When you are attempting a question, follow a simple strategy: one is choosing the correct option, and second is the ability to eliminate the wrong choices. When you judge a question by this simple strategy, there are very minimal chances of facing the negative mark. Suppose you attended questions for 140 marks (when speaking of CSIR) and of which 40 becomes negative, then you will go below 100, so be aware of the fact that negative marking has got a massive role in these exams.

  1. Avoid Last-Minute Preparation

Yes, a strict No-No to last moment preparation. Most of the people have the habit of reading or revising until the time bell rings to enter inside the examination hall. This must be avoided because the person is under exam pressure, and at that moment, if you are trying to recollect something, it’s very tough, and in case if you are unable to recall it will pile up tension inside you. Don’t think much. You have already spent six or more months preparing for it. Be confident about yourself and your preparation. Even if you are unable to recollect something, it’s okay. You will be definitely able to recall everything once you counter any question related to it. So please avoid the negative mindset.

  1. Never Distract Your Mind

No matter what happens, whether invigilators are talking or discussing or someone is burrowing pen or pencil from others, just focus on your paper. Those 2-3 hours must be exclusively focussed on your own paper and not on anything else’s. Keep one thing in your mind that these are crucial hours of your life.

  1. Not Revising Your Answers

In case you skipped certain questions, you can try to recollect at that time. Always highlight or circle the question which you wish to see later; otherwise, you will forget, and that later never comes.


So students, please avoid these silly mistakes while going for any kind of life science competitive exams in the future. Most importantly, try to be calm, relax, and attempt the questions calmly, don’t be in a hurry burry, learn how to manage time. Most of the exams are during the first half of the morning hours, so always attempt the questions in a new mood. Be positive and never lose your self-confidence. Yes, you can, and you will, this must be your attitude before any exam. Remember, there is no secret bigger than hard work and determination and never stop believing in yourself and see the miracle happening.

18. Negative Thoughts

Let’s accept it. While writing an exam, we have various thoughts running at the back of our minds- mostly negative. We are apprehensive about failing the exam. And this is what stops us from achieving success! None of the students will know 100% of the paper. This is true, especially for competitive exams like CSIR NET Exam. You should have the correct approach to attempt the questions. This can only be developed by attempting a few test series before the actual exam. It will help you devise your own strategy. Confidence is the key. Keep positive thoughts, have faith in your preparation. Don’t Let Negativity Surround You!

19. Ignoring Your Health

Due to anxiety and stress, the majority of aspirants ignore their health. A healthy mind and body is crucial for you to achieve success. Make sure to eat light and healthy food before the exam. This will supply the required energy to your mind. Never go for an exam with an empty stomach. Drink sufficient amount of water and stay hydrated. This would help you stay focused during the exam.

20. Not Following The Exam Rules & Regulation

Every competitive exam is conducted with specific sets of rules and regulations. The most common mistake committed by aspirants is to ignore these rules. Some of the rules may include dress code, debarred items in the examination hall, carrying passport size photograph and other documents, etc. You can find proper instructions on the official website of the exam conduction authority as well as on the admit card. Also, be sure about the location of the exam center you have been allocated. Preferably, visit the center one day before the exam to avoid confusion on the D-day.

We understand that exams may play a pivotal role in your success, but at the same time, you should be aware that they are a part of your life. Strategize, according to your strengths and weaknesses. Believe in your capabilities. Remember, the key to success is consistency.

“The difference in Winning and Losing is most often… Not Quitting”- Walt Disney

About the Author
Divya is a CSIR NET Topper with an educational background in Biotechnology. She is one of the finest teachers at Biotecnika and wins students heart with her immense knowledge and experience. Ms. Divya believes in self-motivation and also try to boost up her students.

Editor’s Note: Common Mistakes In Competitive Exams, Common Mistakes In Exams By Life Science Students, Mistakes In Competitive Exams, Common Mistakes In CSIR NET Exam

Upload Your Resume' / CV to BioTecNika Talent Pool

Download This Notification
Rahul Mishra is a Science enthusiast and eager to learn something new each day. He has a degree in Microbiology and has joined forces with Biotecnika in 2019 due to his passion for writing and science.


  1. Thank you for guiding us… I find myself doing a lot of these mistakes… This eill surely help me improve my performance..

  2. Thank you very much for your valuable thoughts regarding the competitive examination… now I have realised my after definitely I will do my level best…C.S.KUMAR

  3. Yes its really helpful at each and every field of work even competitive or board exams

    Thankuu so muchh for giving this information to me before my board exams

  4. Very well explained. Thanks a lot. This is the most detailed review of the mistakes committed by many students and this piece of writing is the collection of experience of the writer over the years.

Comments are closed.